This 3WT episode is dedicated to the memory of Dr. John. In fact, all of 3WT has has always been dedicated to Dr. John. His love of words inspired the idea for this feature. His love of dragons inspired the idea for this particular story. When I write every week I craft it with his reading pleasure in mind. I thought about setting the story aside, but I have decided that I will continue it it for you and for Dr. John, because the message he left us in his last blog post is that life goes on.
Welcome to Three Word Thursday #45. Please join us in our weekly romp as we try to rescue lost and forgotten words from the dusty halls of antiquity. If you enjoy reading my story, leave a comment then click on the names of the other players and go see how they used these bygone words. You’ll be entertained (and possibly educated) all at once.
- odynometer — n. instrument for measuring pain
- brephophagist — n. one who eats babies
- sagittipotent — adj. having great skills in archery
from episode #44
Chevall answered, “They are Mage Warriors. As long as they have something that belonged to anyone of us, they will be able to track us.”
The quartet studied the house. Evaard sighed. “We will have to burn it,” he said. Chevall agreed that there was no other choice. The boys dropped the things that would not burn into the well, then caved the wall stones in on top of them. Then the outhouse, privvy and garden shed were all put to the torch.
As the two Knights and their pages walked away from the clearing Vernal said, “Well, I guess if I survive this I’ll be sleeping in the page’s quarters at the castle after all.
“We’ll both be paying hebdomadal boarding charges,” Evaard said. “I’ll need a place to live, too.”
The quartet moved through the forest. The thick undergrowth made them choose meandering paths and slowed their travel, but it would slow their pursuers as well. For the most part they traveled silently, each lost in their own contemplations of the brephophagist Mage Warriors, who could even now be feasting on the flesh of baby dragons.
Four miles into their trek the group came to the river Honah Lee. Honah Lee was wide, but rather shallow and easy to cross in the fall. However it was Spring and the river roiled from the rains and the run-off from Mount Dyre’s melting snow cap. “How will we cross?” Fencil queried. “If Troga were here we could fly.”
Vernal looked toward the sky. “I hope she is safe.”
“So do we all,” Evaard said. He reached out and put his hand on Vernal’s shoulder. “Dragons are smart and crafty, son. She will be fine.”
“Aye,” Vernal answered. He turned away from Evaard and looked back they way they’d come. “But we hid our tracks so well. How will she find us?”
“Troga has forged mind links with both Evaard and myself,” Chevall answered. Our minds don’t have the power to connect to her unbidden, but she will be able to find us even from dozens of miles away.”
“But how will we cross the river?” Fencil demanded again.
“Well, not here that’s for sure,” Chevall said. He looked at Evaard. “Up or down?”
“About a day’s journey North there is a nice, safe ferry crossing. It lands in Honah Lee Village, and King Velum’s castle is five days south. Or, we can turn south now. About three day’s journey down stream we will come to Dragon Falls and ….”
“… the rope bridge!” Vernal’s eyes lit up. “My father used to tell of the time he crossed it. Can we go that way?”
“DeMagik’s cave is at the foot of the gorge. With the current situation, it may not be wise to pass so close.” Chevall cautioned.
“But we are on a dragon quest!” Vernal said. “Surely they would not …”
“They have no idea who stole their nesting eggs,” Evaard interrupted. “They will see us in their territory and take action to defend it.”
“But –” Vernal started to protest. Chevall waved his hand. “Enough! Let us think.”
Vernal’s eyes flashed angrily, but he held his tongue.
“Going up river will waste time we don’t have,” Evaard said.
“Yes, but if we go down river, we may run out of life.” Chevall countered.
“I’m hungry!” Fencil interrupted.
“I could use a meal,” Evaard said. “What food do we have?” He asked Vernal, who had packed their provisions.
“Most everything from the house,” Vernal said. “The horse is carrying all the victuals. Would you like me to cook something?”
“No fire,” ChevalI said. “And we eat on our feet, walking.”
“And which way shall we walk?” Evaard said. He pointed south, to dragon country. Chevall nodded.
Vernal wore a smile as he found the victual satchel he’d stuffed with dried venison and boiled eggs. They each ate a boiled egg, took a long drink of cold water from the river and, gnawing on jerky, resumed their trek.
Four hours later, Fencil was limping. The sun seemed to balance on the peak of Mount Doom, and it was time to stop for the night.
“It is time to find a safe camp,” Evaard said. “If we were walking on a road, maybe we could continue on, but it is too dark and the ground too rough for us to continue here.”
“Aye,” Chevall agreeded. He looped the horse’s reins around a tree branch and told Fencil, “Stay with the beast.” He, Vernal and Evaard spread out in search of a likely camping spot.
Vernal was the last to return to the rendezvous, . He’d found a ravine that harbored a massive willow tree whose branches grew thick and swept the ground. The tree jutted from a rock wall leaving the quartet with only one direction to guard.
“This is perfect,” Evaard said as they stepped through the overhanging leaves.
“There is even enough room for the horse,” Vernal said.
“Well done.” Chevall told him. “I think we can even chance a small fire and hot food if you use very dry wood. You and Fencil take care of that. Evaard and I will see how much of our back-trail we can obliterate while it is still light.”
The two Knights moved away from the shelter. “Fencil is limping,” Evaard murmured.
“Let’s hope a night’s rest puts him right. He’s young and will heal quickly,” Chevall said,
Cheval shook his head, “We have no odynometer, but judging by the way the boy was dragging that leg, I’m willing to wager that tomorrow the king’s noble steed will be carrying a boy along with the victuals.”
Vernal also noticed Fencil’s limp. “Fencil, you stay here and build a fire ring, I will look for wood.”
“I can help!” The boy said stubbornly, suspecting he was being left behind because of his injury.
“Yes,” Vernal said, “but the horse knows you and not me, and we can’t very well leave him unattended.”
“Oh! ” Fencil said. ” I will stay and build the fire ring.”
Vernal nodded and stepped from beneath the sheltering branches. He looked up river, the way the knights had gone, and then turned and hurried deeper into the ravine.
* * *
Evaard and Chevall returned to the river. “If I fanced frozen feet and wet boots, I’d wade ot and turn a few rocks to make it seem we tried to cross this way,” Chevall said.
Evaard crossed his arms, chewed his bottom lip, and made a slow turn, studying the country side. A long, sturdy, wrist-thick bit of driftwood caught his eye. It was silvered and dry from baking in the sun on the river bank. He picked it up and carried it to the edge of the stream. Once there he used it to stir the pebbles at the stream bed and dislodge a couple of the large rocks, leaving an apparent disturbance in the river bottom, then he hefted the limb into the middle of the stream and watched it rapidly float away.
Chevall chuckled. “You know, Evaard, with your brains and my sagittipotent skills, we just might survive this.”
The 3WT #46 words will be:
- amarulence, n. — bitterness, spite
- assectation , v. — act of following after something else
- defedate, v, — to defile, to pollute
Got it? Good! In that case: Your story is due on: February 25th, 2010